Hello dear friends from Peaceful Science. I am doing some writing on science and faith and realize I need to update, brush up and deepen my understanding of the current scientific understanding of evolution. For this research, I am not looking for resources that try to integrate faith with science but more that gives me a good overall state of studies on evolution. I am looking for books that are approachable but also contain some depth. I do not have science background but I am an avid learner.
I would like to ask the community for resources along the lines I described above. Thanks
Hello Elias: I asked a similar question a year ago and the most highly recommended book was Evolution by Douglas J. Futuyma. It is an entry-level college textbook. I have not finished it yet, but hope to in the next ten years.
Carl Zimmer’s textbook on evolution is a great resource. Dennis venema’s introduction to evo bio blog series on biologos is a good resource. Carl Zimmer’s other books on evolution are great. Anything by Sean B Carroll, such as “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”.
Thank you for the suggestions. I am especially intrigued by Evolution 2.0 mentioned above.
Yesterday, I paid a visit to Emory library but unfortunately it did not have most of the titles cited here. I did pick up Franz Wuketits and Christoph Antweiler’s Evolution Handbook. What I liked about this 3-volume worked is that it did not limit itself to biological evolution but explores evolution from an inter-disciplinary perspective. I wonder if anyone in the group have thoughts on this specific work.
This is interesting to me because the main reason for my research is to somewhat get an up-to-date view on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Christian Evolutionism and his approach was also inter-disciplinary. I would also love to hear more from the group on this subject. Can evolution be more than theory to explain biological diversity but instead a paradigm to explain how the world works?
I used to read a lot of Perry Marshall’s online articles about evolution. He’s an engineer by background and a marketing strategist, not a scientist. Perhaps the situation has changed since the days when I frequented his website but I gradually came to the conclusion that he had a very poor grasp of evolutionary processes and the peer-reviewed publications. (He often insisted that evolutionary biologists were wrong.) If my assessment was inaccurate, I would be happy to learn the facts. I always found him interesting and his ideas engaging on a wide variety of topics. But I kept running into logical fallacies in his arguments concerning evolution.
Admittedly, that was some years ago. So my impressions may no longer be valid.
Yes, I’d be glad to. While evolution is not a universal theory, I have seen evolution as a paradigm to explain not just biology but applied to human societies, the cosmos and even spirituality. I think Teilhard de Chardin is one of the first examples of this approach. I also just picked a book at Emory entitled “The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution” (a bit dated, published in the 80’s). These are just some examples of this approach.
I found myself spending a lot of time reading much of that thread. It left my head spinning. Among the tangents I followed via links to other websites was one entitled “Order=Signal, Random=Noise.” at Order = Signal. Random = Noise. , the Evolution 2.0 website of Perry Marshall. I’m not an electrical engineer by training but I can understand why in that particular field the aforementioned title is a typically useful generalization. Nevertheless, my gut tells me that it fails as a strict maxim. After all, a continuous sine wave is certainly an example of order—because the pattern is totally predictable and unfailing (if a perfect sine wave and not being modulated in some way, such as via AM or FM, or coupled with another sine wave in some sort of phase modulation.) Nevertheless, I don’t see how that sine wave type of order is a signal, unless in the form of a crude dead-man switch sort of “signal.”
That is, for example, if a continuous sine wave is broadcast from a radio transmission tower, it does communicate a kind of underlying “message” that the tower continues to exist and function. If the sine wave broadcast ceases, there is a kind of underlying “message” that the transmission tower’s antenna is no longer receiving electrical power (for whatever reason) or no longer exists fully intact. The transmission of the continuous sine wave over the long-term can communicate the idea that the transmission facility is being actively maintained by human operators. Some mysterious continuous short-wave broadcasts have long been assumed by many to be dead-man switches of this sort, maintained in order to inform their personnel around the world that the homeland has not yet been vaporized by a nuclear bomb attack.
Thus, I don’t think the website title is all that helpful in a discussion of evolution. Am I missing something? Am I approaching this topic wrongly? (Of course, I could cite other aspects of that webpage that appear to me to be problematic but I wanted to focus on the title at this point.)